Gosh, I've waited a long time for this. You wouldn't believe the number of sleepless nights I've had wondering when it was going to pop through the letterbox and how good it was going to be. I've tossed and turned and stared at the ceiling - I tell you it's fair worn me out! I'm a mere shadow of the incredibly good-looking and eligible bach... (Get on with it! Ed).
Oh, okay. If you don't know Turrican 1, hang your head in shame. It's only one of the best horizontal 8-way scrolling shoot-'em-ups ever to appear on the surface of this planet. It was fast, it was slick, it was mega-playable and it had brilliant graphics. So the big question is whether Turrican 2 is better. And it's one I don't think I'll answer just yet (Ha!) Nope, first I think I'll just tell you about it and build up the suspense.
You start off on the surface of a weird planet called Landorin. You're there (out of the kindness of your heart) to trash the Machine, a big robot-thing who's been trying to wipe out all the people on the planet and take it over (the rotter!). But before you can even get close to it you're going to need to hack your way through seven levels of complete anarchy (see box). Ulp! Sounds like a tough job, eh? So, first off, let's have a quick look at the size of Turry's equipment (if you see what I mean).
Yep! Tury's got new weapons! Cast your mind back to the original game, and you'll remember he had a titchy laser thing and a 'Lightning Beam'. These have been upgraded, so now he's got an improved lightning laser (which sprays electron death like a hose) and a blaster gun which fires blobs of electricity at everything in its way. Also available are pick-up weapons such as extra-wide blasters (to hit more aliens) and special long-range lasers. In fact, you couldn't ask for much more firepower in a shoot-'em-up. Everything looks incredibly mega-destructive and mean (except the lightning gun which looks a bit crap on the screen, like it's been programmed m BASIC).
As you blast your way through the swarms of mutant baddies you realise just how huge the playing area actually is. It's not just right to left scrolling we've got here - you can go up into higher spooky unexplored caverns, or drop down a waterfall or something to visit the nether regions (ooer!). Of course, you don't need to go through every screen to get to the end of each level but it's great knowing they're there (to visit on a return trip if the fancy takes you!).
But it's not just the number of screens that's so impressive (900 at the last count!) - it's how much programmers Enigma Variations have been able to cram into them all. Every step of the way you come across absolutely loads of aliens, pick-ups and new and weird obstacles to overcome. I couldn't believe my peepers! In fact there's almost too much going on - because everything's so colourful, our old friend Mr Attribute Clash rears his many-coloured square heads again and some of the sprites sort of mix together a bit. It's a pity, but a small price to play for the generally stonking graphics.
Turry moves very much as he did in the original, but this time a bit faster and smoother. He's still got the ability to jump huge distances (blasting as he goes), but on the ground the sheer weight of baddies makes it difficult to zip quickly through the game. So to win you'll have to be really on your guard - rush in and you're gonna get ambushed and wasted real quick!
There are just so many different types of baddies I'm not even going to bother describing them all. Basically, though, - there are the small ground-crawling types which just get under your feet, there are the flying-and-need-to-be-zapped-quickly types and there are the you'll-need-loads-of-shots-to-kill-me guardians, who block vital routes under the surface. If you wipe out all the baddies in one section you'll have time for a breather before any others wander over to attack (and boy, will you need the breather!), and all in all they look great and move really well.
You'll probably have realised by now that I'm rather a fan of Turrican 2. It's a lot better than the first version (as well it should be, seeing as it's a couple of years on). The graphics have improved, and the sounds nearly up to Dolby standards (well, sort of) But best of all is that it's ridiculously playable and whoppingly huge! I'm going to be plugging away at it for a long time - and I'll be lucky if I can get through to the Machine in 6 months! If all this doesn't make it a Megagame then I'm an Icelandic fisherman named Susan.
Enormous multi-scrolling shooter, with bags of playability. What more could you want?!